The Laos Mekong

Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Jungle, and Villages Aboard a Premier River Vessel


Enjoy a three country expedition as you traverse Laos to touch Thailand at the once notorious Golden Triangle. From Vientiane, the old French capital, the Pandaw will be among the first river expedition since pre-war days to cross all Laos. Stop for two nights at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang with its dazzling wood carved monasteries and then on deep into the mountains, through rapids and gorges on our high powered little Pandaw. Visit tribal villages and explore into jungle and countryside. The itinerary for this expedition is indicative only and subject to change. As you travel to remote areas, changes to the itinerary will inevitably occur. A flexible approach is required. Reverse departures are also offered.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.



Day 1

Transfer from airports or hotel in Vientiane. Embark at 12:30 pm, followed by lunch and afternoon explorations of the delightful French city including visits to the golden Pha That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple, the President’s Hall, Wat Prakeo Temple and the Phatouxay monument. Set sail in the late afternoon, and enjoy a Welcome Dinner on board and overnight near Vientiane.

Day 2
Cruising the Mekong

Cruise upstream on the Mekong, passing lush jungle scenery and tiny riverside villages. Morning presentation on the Lao language. Afternoon cooking demonstration on the upper deck. Arrive in Ban Xanakham and overnight.

Day 3
Pak Lai

Afternoon visit to the French administrative town of Pak Lai with many colonial buildings and a bustling local market. This town boasts the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, usually in February. Pak Lai is popular for its free walk opportunities through some incredible rainforests. It even boasts a considerable number of elephants, so if you have never experienced a ride on an elephant before, this could be your chance.

Day 4
Ban Park Bor Village

Afternoon visit and walking tour of Ban Park Bor (Kmu Tribal) Village, a typical village, set on the banks of the Mekong amid lush jungle.

Day 5
Ban Mouang Khai Village / Luang Prabang

In the morning, visit a Hmong village and continue upstream to the village of Ban Mouang Khai. Afternoon sightseeing by mini coach to visit the jungle pools and dramatic Khaung Si waterfall then on to a butterfly garden. Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang where there is a buzzing night market and many great cafes and some good local restaurants.

Day 6
Luang Prabang

In the morning explore by tuktuk this well-preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries, and royal palace. Visit the National Museum and have the afternoon free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang on your own. In the late afternoon, enjoy traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck of the ship. Moor overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 7
Luang Prabang / Pak Ou Buddha Caves

Early morning walking tour to see the alms offering by the local people to hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. Passengers are invited to join in with offerings provided for the alms giving. Morning sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. The caves are noted for their miniature Buddha sculptures. Hundreds of very small and mostly damaged wooden Buddhist figures are laid out over the wall shelves. They take many different positions, including meditation, teaching, peace, rain, and reclining (nirvana). Evening cocktails on a sandbank. Sail upstream on the beautiful Mekong toward Ban Bo.

Day 8
Cruising the Mekong / Pak Beng

Morning visit to a local Khamo village. Sail upstream on the Mekong passing Pak Beng toward Pak Sit.

Day 9
Ban Houayxay

Early morning walking tour in a Khamo village, then cruise through stunning scenery to the border of Laos and Thailand. The night is spent on the Lao side in the Huay xay area where we take a late afternoon village walk.

Day 10
Chiang Khong

Cross over into Thailand via the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge before rejoining your ship in Chiang Khong. Farewell cocktails and Thai traditional dance on board for your last evening.

Day 11
Golden Triangle

Disembark by 8:30 am in Chiang Khong, Thailand and explore the Golden Triangle including a visit to the opium museum. Continue to airports or city hotels in Chiang Rai (2 hours) and Chiang Mai (6 hours).

Golden Triangle to Vientiane Itinerary

Day 1 Chiang Khong, Thailand (Golden Triangle)
Day 2 Laos
Day 3 Khamo village
Day 4 Pak Ou Caves / Luang Prabang
Day 5 Luang Prabang
Day 6 Luang Prabang / Khaung Si waterfall
Day 7 Xayaburi Dam
Day 8 Ban Pha Leab
Day 9 Vientiane
Day 10 Vientiane
Day 11 Vientiane / Depart


Length: 11 days
Cost From: $4360  
Arrive: Vientiane, Laos
Depart: Chiang Khong, Thailand
Lodging: 10 nights aboard a river vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship
Activity: River Cruising
Trip Level:

11-day cruise, cultural exploration and walking tours

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